Houses planned at hospital water tank in Melrose

Part of the old water tank for Dingleton Hospital in Melrose which closed in 2001. Plans have been submitted to convert it into houses.
Part of the old water tank for Dingleton Hospital in Melrose which closed in 2001. Plans have been submitted to convert it into houses.

A redundant water storage tank built to serve the old Dingleton Hospital near Melrose could be set to be converted into two new houses.

Plans have been drawn up to turn the 140-year-old brick-clad building into two L-shaped sunken homes.

Aitken Turnbull Architects' design for two houses incorporating the old water tank for Dingleton Hospital.

Aitken Turnbull Architects' design for two houses incorporating the old water tank for Dingleton Hospital.

Applicant David Burgher wants to convert the building, set in a 31m-by-16.5m concrete basin 3m deep, into two three or four-bedroom homes with timber and glass panel walls arranged around a sunken courtyard.

The properties would have filtered views of the Eildon Hills from their upper terraces but would be largely invisible from public view.

A report by Aitken Turnbull Architects said: “The building is structurally sound below ground and makes for logical, sympathetic and highly energy-efficient conversion to residential use.”

Design plans show that the brick clad exterior would be kept and a barrel-vaulted pump-house would be retained as a store.

Aitken Turnbull Architects' design for two houses incorporating the old water tank for Dingleton Hospital.

Aitken Turnbull Architects' design for two houses incorporating the old water tank for Dingleton Hospital.

The design statement explains: “The plan form is a simple narrow L-shape which utilises the existing structure on two sides and allows for glazed walls to the south and west to maximise solar gain deep into the building.

“A staircase and service core is located within the hinge of the L plan and splits the wings into bedroom and living zones looking out into the sunken courtyard garden.

“The upper floor provides the entrance at natural ground level and has been designed as a simple square timber-clad pod which opens onto a roof terrace over the bedrooms.”

Discussing the application at Melrose Community Council’s April meeting, Robin Chisholm said: “It’s semi-derelict and these are interesting plans. It bears no resemblance to the surrounding properties, but due to the location, it shouldn’t have a visual impact.”

The community council had no objections but felt that, should the conversion go ahead, the 30mph limit should be moved up the hill, so that the proposed entry and exit would fall within it.